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- S v JA 2017 (2) SACR 143 (NCK)

Mr JA, the accused who is from Port Nolloth on the northern part of the South African west coast, was convicted of rape before the regional court, Springbok in Namaqualand.

The complainant, who was 12 years old at the time of the rape incidents which took place over a period of time, was the daughter of the accused and Mrs B with whom the accused had been living as husband and wife for more than 20 years.

Prior to the amendment of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 105 of 1997 (which provides for minimum sentences) by the Criminal Law (Sentencing) Amendment Act 38 of 2007, the accused was referred to the Kimberley High Court for sentencing whereupon the accused was sentenced by a single judge to life incarceration.

On appeal against this sentence before a full bench of three judges of this same Kimberley High Court (“the court of appeal”), one of the issues was whether the age of the accused at the time of sentence, should have been considered as a mitigating factor. Bear in mind that the accused was approximately 56 years old at the time of the commission of the rape incidents, and 59 years old when the matter was referred to the High Court for sentencing. On behalf of the accused it was submitted that he would become eligible for parole no sooner than the age of 74 and possibly only when reaching the age of 84.

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[This is only an extract of a legal discussion published in Pollex in Servamus: January 2021. If you are interested in reading the completed discussion, contact Servamus’s offices. Tel: (012) 345 4660 or send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Ed.]

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